B-I-G AKA B-I-G E. Get It? Big E
Let’s talk about Big E for a moment. Cool? Cool.
Raw opened with Big E standing in the middle of the ring with Randy Orton and the All Mighty WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. E’s presence gave the segment extra juice, as he played the role of Bugs Bunny while Lashley and Orton, two very serious cats, traded verbal shots.
E’s gift is how adaptable he is. You want funny? He’s got you. You want serious? He’s got you. You want emotional? He’s got you there, too. Oh, and he’s a powerhouse who looks like he can whoop ass on command.
He’s a legitimate threat to Orton and Lashley, and a much needed fly in the ointment that is the WWE Championship picture. On a brand filled with thinly-drawn characters, the New Day member is a hell of a contrast. Plus, I have it on good authority that he indeed does rock.
When Randy and Robert All Mighty wrestled in tonight’s main event, they did so knowing the artist formerly known as Langston waited in the wings to cash-in his Money in the Bank contract. On a night where WWE gave us stakes up and down the card, they saved the most tension for the final match.
Randy and Bobby battled hard. Randy tried, often in vain, to match Lashley’s power. Yeah, no bueno, sir. The more he used his speed and wits, the better. He even managed to put an RKO on the champ. And if not for MVP’s typical clutch behavior, maybe he wins the match.
That’s the genius of MVP’s character. Randy took his eye off the prize to RKO Montel, which gave the champ enough time to recover. As soon as Randy got back into the ring, Lashley speared him—his second of the match—and the ref counted three.
But like Randy said, Lashley is a greedy son of a…you know the rest. He added insult to injury and put Orton in a spinebuster on the commentary table. Unfortunately for the champ. he messed up his knee in the process. As he limped back into the ring, Big E’s music hit.
E survived a spear, fisticuffs, and everything else Lashley threw at him. But the challenger came to play tonight and after calling his shot like Babe Ruth, he knew he had to win.
And win he did.
After one Big Ending and a three-count, E was crowned the winner and NEW WWE CHAMPION. The champ celebrated with his New Day brothers and the rest of Kofi Kingston’s hometown, and the show faded to black.
THAT is how you tell a story from start to finish. Randy and Bobby? One chapter is over and the next awaits. Bobby’s greediness? Comes back to haunt him. Big E picking his moment and predicting said moment? Perfect.
Raw is going to feel different next week.
The Queen of Spades x The Queen x Alexa
For the record, I’m not a fan of WWE’s storytelling trope where a competitor gets a title shot when they defeat the champion. I can go into a litany of reasons why but number one at the top of the list is it’s a boring way to do it. But, it is what it is and my dislike of the trope shouldn’t take away from the match itself.
With that said, Shayna Baszler and Charlotte Flair had a good match. We saw the ending coming from a mile away—Nia Jax doing to her partner what was done to her last week—but the two women told a nice story of evenly matched competitors. It was physical but not in the way Nia and Charlotte was last week and certainly not their Tyson vs. Holyfield brawl from two weeks ago.
Both women effectively portrayed Shayna as a threat who, without interference, might present a true challenge to the Queen. But like I said, the ending was telegraphed and there was only one way it could end. Nia came to ringside, stood on the apron when her partner had the champ on the ropes, and distracted her long enough for Charlotte to get the pin.
We’re now getting closer to Shayna and Nia dissolving their partnership at Extreme Rules (possibly) while Charlotte is free to focus on Alexa Bliss, who just so happened to make her way to the ring with a gift in hand.
I like Alexa. I really do. I don’t think this character is the best use of her talents right now because she’s in stasis with the gimmick since Bray Wyatt got his walking papers, but she’s doing the best with what she has.
When she pokes holes in Charlotte’s persona, as she did in this segment, it’s fun and shows why Alexa, like Big E, brings a different energy to the title picture.
She presented Charlotte with a doll of her own, Charly, and said that even a “narcissistic, self-absorbed bitch” like Flair needs a friend. She said all of that with her chest, which is why it got quotations.
Charlotte, never one to let someone being nice stop her from being her, rejected the gift and a fight ensued because it’s wrestling. Alexa showed Charlotte she’s a serious threat, doll or no doll. and sent the Queen home with her title tucked between her legs.
A clash in styles makes for good matches and, hopefully, good stories. WWE can and should firmly focus on the story they want to tell for their Raw Women’s Championship match. If they do, these two could do something pretty good at Extreme Rules.
Just please don’t make it all about dolls.
WWE Welcomes Us to the Ocho
The New Day x Mustafa Ali & Mansoor hooked up to go four-on-four with AJ Styles, Omos and Extinction. All four teams were involved in last week’s Tag Team Turmoil, so why not continue that fun and tease out new stories? The most impressive spot was Omos throwing three men out of the ring like children before turning Mustafa into roadkill.
Story? Omos is the equation that changes any match he’s in, and no one knows how to solve him.
The Puerto Rican Cupid Hits the Mark
Jeff Hardy is riding the rocket to stardom, isn’t he? Last week, he’s involved in a 24-7 title scrum. This week? He’s challenging for the United States Championship. On a side note, am I the only one amazed that after all these years, Jeff still finds jeans in that style that fit? Hardy always parties like its 1999 and he’s got the fashion sense to prove it.
That fashion sense didn’t help him here, as Damian Priest put him down with a Reckoning.
Sheamus was on commentary and, shock, attacked Priest and Hardy when the match ended. Even after catching Priest off guard, Sheamus still can’t find the right combination to get the New Yorker off his feet. To be continued…
Drake Maverick Has a Scheme or a Plot to Make it to the Top
More 24-7 chicanery highlighting Reggie’s penchant for parkour. while, gasp, giving this title an actual story. Or at the least, intrigue. Drake Maverick is making moves to get the title off of Reggie. Much like Blofeld in From Russia With Love, he says the plan is solid, but the people executing said plan are the problem.
Sounds like we’re getting Maverick x Reggie in some form. Not sure if it’ll be an official match or just the normal organized chaos, but this is a nice wrinkle.
Meaty Men Slapping
First off, Jimmy Smith is a liar. Straight up and down, he lied on national television.
“The big sword Drew McIntyre is not afraid to use.”
Oh really, Jimmy? When has Drew O’Mac ever once used it? If he was really about that action, Drew would show Jinder Mahal, Shanky, and Veer what it means to get crossed when you cross him. Say what you will about Mr. Yamaguchi-San, but at least he didn’t carry a sword around as a fashion accessory.
Anyway, not much to talk about here. Drew and The Viking Raiders made proper work of Jinder and his boys. A couple moves and a Claymore to Shanky got them the win. On a night filled with stakes, this was the lone “so what?”
Nikki Almost Had Supper But Got Tamina Instead
Sonya Deville misspoke and called WWE’s superhero, “Nikki A.H.S.” It got a hearty chuckle in the Cageside offices as we figured out what that new name means. I went with Almost Had Supper.
But I digress. As prep for their tag team championship match, Super Brutality got individual matches with the current champs. Tamina and Nikki put on an okay affair, with the latter getting the W and a severe beatdown at the hands of the champs.
Rhea Ripley and Natalya, in comparison, put on a longer bout and traded momentum like Pokémon cards. The dreaded numbers game almost got the better of Ripley when Tamina threatened to interfere, which brought out a hobbling Nikki to the rescue.
Rhea got the win and the challengers proved when push comes to shove as it often does in pro wrestling, they can handle the champs.
And the Winner Is…
Doudrop x Eva Marie did a thing. While I’m on record liking the idea of Doudrop reclaiming her time, we need to wrap this thing up and go home. Doudrop mercifully ended the match and hopefully, the feud.
Karrion Kross Sounds Totally Krossed Out
So on one hand, Karrion Kross says he’s not sure what his ultimate reasoning is for carving a path of destruction through Raw. But then he says his plan is to run through everyone until they all have no choice but to fall and pray. It looked cool and seems like an actual direction for him, even if it sounds a bit muddled. Presenting him in a suit with the dry ice machine on looks a lot better than his first impression. Even better if he’s a psychopath in a suit who just wants to beat people up because they exist. I dig it.
On their first night going head-to-head with Monday Night Football, Raw delivered the goods. We had stakes, good matches, and a title change that made sense. Were there a few meh moments? Of course. But the overall consistency and forward momentum is enough to paper over those flaws.
Oh, and we got a new WWE Champion that made me yell in my living room like I was 12 again.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn